When I read Blake
or the Book of Revelation
I imagine knocking
on door after door
in the mysterious offices of oblivion
or my father
and his eyes
cold as sleet
or his hand around the bottle,
that surge of buried anger
rising red ...
the main card has been announced:
man and his God,
a brittle boy against
a brute of an old man ...
it's either I'm already dead
or I don't want to live ...
then I dip into Mark Twain
and life gets in such good licks
that the world can't get enough of it
and I'm on my father's shoulders
at the brass and rainbow parade
or down at the old marina
casting fishing lines off the jetty ...
and then I turn to Kafka
and you know where that leads
or don't know as the case may be
and God has abandoned us,
my father and I huddle together
in the dark and dingy poorhouse
nibbling on month-old bread.
Religion and family,
philosophy and love ...
nothing is safe from turning the pages.
I tell myself I should stay out of books.
Or better yet, they should stay out of me.